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When it comes to fighting games one of the best tips I’ve ever gotten was to keep a record of what I have learned. Write about how you played, how you should play and anything else you can think of relating to your game. Even now, I will admit that the whole reason I’m writing about this is that I sort of forgot about this good habit and stopped writing. Earlier this week, I started getting back into writing about my game with some new tools. So to benefit you and me from the lessons I have learned, I’m reinforcing my knowledge by writing it down here for everyone to read.
Why You Should Keep Notes About Fighting Games
Keeping notes on your game helps you remember things that are giving you trouble or cool news things you have seen or done in a match – especially between sessions. Writing your mistakes or successes helps re-enforce them in your mind. The chances of you repeating the stuff that doesn’t work becomes less of a factor when you commit them to writing.
If you’re not sold on using writing as a tool to remember or learn things better, read this LifeHacker article that covers the subject pretty well. The article is basically saying that when you write things down, it helps create a link in your mind between the thought of an action (writing “block more” for instance) and actually doing that action (blocking more). Training your brain to react to things or behave in a certain way is of course a good way to get better at that thing, so why not give yourself a leg up!
What You Should Be Writing
To start out, when you are trying to get better, what kind of things should you be thinking about? Outside of learning a game system, the most important things you want to learn about are the things you have the most trouble with. That means you need to think before you play – setup a game plan. Think while you’re playing – adapting to situations and mind games. Think after you have played – analysis and future adjustments. A good resource I found helpful on the subject of thinking about playing was an article originally by Buktooth as part of the Shoryuken Pro Strategy Series from a couple years ago.
At first, this kind of thinking might not come naturally to a player. I know I have trouble thinking about a few of these things. Then if you are having trouble conceptualizing purely mentally, try to move your focus out of your mind and into writing.
Here’s a list of things that I like to write about (in order of importance):
- Bad habits
- Why I lost
- Stuff that works
- Tips from other players
- Patterns or tendencies of other players
- Something cool or situational that I’ve discovered
- Match-up data
The most helpful thing I have ever started writing was my bad habits I have noticed while playing. Make sure to be mindful of your own patterns as well. Do you always throw two fast fireballs and then one slow one? Write it down and stop doing it. If you are noticing it, chances are it’s already being used against you. How often do you think about something that you do that makes you lose just to start doing it again the very next time you played? I am pretty horrible at this myself and I really find that when I put it to writing, the lesson stays with me a lot longer than otherwise.
Other things to write down that I found are most helpful are on things that worked in a match and things that beat me in a match. This is something that can’t always be written down right away – if you’re at a tournament for instance – but it’s pretty easy to do when you’re grinding at home against online opponents. Writing down things that worked are not always as helpful as the things that made you lose but it might give you some insight into thinking about reading other players’ patterns or even just giving yourself a pat on the back for finding a way to stay solid. It can be a nice break from constantly thinking about how you’ve been messing up.
Your notes can serve many purposes and be as detailed or as sparse as you’d like. For instance, in my notes for Jinpachi, instead of writing out all the combos available to him, I keep a could combo starters, a couple enders and a couple of his better launchers along with a link to a Tekken Zaibatsu thread on Jinpachi combos. That way I keep a quick reference to just about any resource I need. An example of a much less detailed but arguably more important file I keep is my list of bad habits. I keep my notes on this short and to the point: “Block more” “Move out of pressure – don’t fight out of pressure”
When You Should Write
In simplest terms, you should always be writing. Think about what new notes to add, or which existing notes you can review. After all, you are using your notes to help you think about your play and if you’re not thinking, why are you playing in the first place!
Sometimes you’re in a place where you can’t write or you don’t want to be a weirdo bringing a notebook around to your friends place for “serious business”. Writing about your play is an exercise and as long as you’re at least thinking “I should write that down” is at least better than not thinking about writing it at all. If you’re really desperate, write yourself a note on your phone or find something to write on in your wallet.
Where To Write It All
Note taking tier-list:
- Text files (C)
- Paper notebook (B)
- Note-taking software (S+)
This has been a trial-and-error process for me. I have gone through a few ways of keeping notes and I found the one that works for me. Experiment and do not be afraid to switch things up. You can even write about your notes in your notebook if you really want to get meta about your game.
I used to write in a notebook. I found this to be fast and convenient. But I didn’t like having to drag it everywhere and I could never remember to take it with me in the first place. It also bothered me that I could not easily reorganize or index information.
Another thing I tried was using a text file. You can do multiple things in this case and almost any way of writing things on a computer will have its strengths and weaknesses. You can use a plain-text file like I have, a Word document or even a spreadsheet if you’d like. The formatting is up to you and any information can be found almost immediately. Using a file also lets you be loose with what kinds of notes you keep since it allows for recording URLs to forum posts or images of hit-boxes for quick reference. One major flaw in keeping a file is that it’s not always accessible like other methods, especially if you store your files on a desktop. You can easily fix this by using cloud-based storage like Dropbox.
This week I’ve started using note-taking software like Evernote to help organize my work and home stuff. Then, a couple days ago I realized that it could also be perfect for tracking my progress in fighting games. Now I have notebooks for each game I play, I can use tags for notes to find info quickly or organize related notes together. The best part is that because Evernote has cloud storage, I can access my files anytime thanks to the app for my smartphone or any computer I use regularly. Of course, if you don’t have a smartphone or want to pay for a dataplan, this might not be totally the best option. Another, non-mobile phone related solution is to use your own email account to send yourself notes or messages about things you want to improve on or what you’ve learned.
The Most Important Lesson
Read what you wrote! You’re spending all this time putting to paper all the ways you’re getting bodied, why not at least put it to use. Read about your habits before starting an online sessions, read before you go to a tournament or even before a tournament match if you want. Be mindful of the things you thought were important enough to write. Like I said earlier, I haven’t been keeping notes about my game for close to a year now, but jumping back into it is making me motivated to improve. Sometimes it helps to write things down to help you remember where you can improve.
As a thank-you for such a successful year with Chip Damage we’re going to be holding a Holiday Party for all our friends!
On December 18th at the University of Manitoba, come down to the GSA Lounge in University Center. Admission is free and open to everyone. The party will start at 4 and we’ll be having dinner around 6. I believe we will be serving Pizza and Fried Chicken. You’re also encouraged to bring drinks and snacks too. Like all of our gatherings, we will have stations for casuals open to everyone, and as always BYOC. In addition to that, we also will have board games and party games to play at the event. You are also encouraged to bring your own games.
Chip Damage Secret Santa
The event will have a $20 gift limit. The gift exchange will take place at the Holiday Party. Sign up for the Secret Santa in this thread by December 4th. We’ll PM you your Secret Santa name on December 5th. If you happen to not know what kind of gift to get for your Secret Santa, we will try to give you some info for a gift. Remember to sign up for this only if you’re sure you can make it to the Holiday Party.
What: Chip Damage Holiday Party
When: December 18th, 4-12
Where: University of Manitoba, GSA Lounge 2nd Floor University Center
Bring snacks and drinks and party games. BYOC.
Everyone is invited so please make sure to come down!
If you have questions or you want to sign-up for the Secret Santa, please visit this thread.
Congrats to our Top 8 Players! Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting our scene. Keep in shape, gentlemen — BaseLAN is coming up real soon.
Here are our full results from Saturday’s tournament:
1. Shane (Undefeated)
2. Graeme (Lost to Shane x2)
3. BMike (Lost to Shane, Graeme)
4. Jericho (Lost to BMike, Graeme)
T5. Duong (Lost to Matt, Graeme), James Kim (Lost to Graeme, Jericho)
T7. Paks (Lost to BMike, James Kim), Andrew (Lost to James Kim, Duong)
T9. Jo A (Lost to Rain, James Kim), Rain (Lost to Jericho, Andrew), Matt (Lost to Shane, Paks), Tyler (Lost to BMike, Duong)
T13. David (Lost to Tyler, Paks), Eissan (Lost to Jericho, Jo A), Kiet (Lost to Graeme, Andrew), Steed (Lost to James Kim, Duong)
T17. Sandeep (Lost to Graeme, Duong), James Howard (Lost to Shane, Steed), Charlee (Lost to Duong, Kiet), Nate (Lost to Shane, Andrew)
T17. Branden (Lost to Paks, Eissan), Mark A (Lost to David, Jo A), Karel (Lost to Jo A, David), Dylan (Lost to Jericho, Paks)
T25. Stephanie (Lost to Tyler, Mark A), Matt “Clark” H. (Lost to Rain, DQ’d against Karel), Stewart (Lost to Eissan, Dylan)
T25. Matt J. (Lost to Kiet, Sandeep), Ian (Lost to Andrew, Steed), Mark T (Lost to Matt, Charlee), Andy S (Lost to James Howard, Nate)
We’ve had a busy weekend and C4 2010 has come and gone. We’re very excited to mention we got some new players interested in our little club so watch out for some unfamiliar faces this coming Friday. From what we hear, C4 2010 was a huge success and C4 2011 has even bigger and better things in store for us.
The tournament was a hit with 31 competitors and some of our biggest (and sexiest) prizes yet. Our congratulations go out to our Top 3: Shane, Graeme and Mike. The MVC2 Gauntlet was a great event — even if it did end a little quicker than anyone expected and We’re excited to be handing out two new copies of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 when the game drops.
I’ll start with giving big props to Duong for hooking us up that loaner TV for watching match-play. He selflessly organizes our tournaments and is a big reason they run smoothly and on time. Duong is such an important part of Chipdamage; I have no idea where we would be without his dedication to the scene.
Next up is Korea. Thanks for organizing things, bringing equipment and letting me help you run our events on the floor this weekend. James is the reason we’re all here in the first place. Chipdamage and it’s other names like the original SSGA and now Games on Campus are James’ vision and we wouldn’t be anywhere without him. None of us can thank him enough for what he’s accomplished within this city. Also James, Make sure to give ‘em hell at Canada Cup; we’ll be cheering for you at home.
Of course Duong and James are to thank for us even being at C4 in the first place. Good work for helping us get such great exposure at such a huge event. We extend our well wishes and gratitude to Ariel for helping us get in the door at C4 at all.
Thanks also to Tyler for working out the Friday event lineup. You really are a showman and you know what the people want to see. Your work definitely made it worth being at the Con on Friday. Keep those ideas coming.
Matt is a great sport for putting his rep on the line with the MVC2 Gauntlet. You’re also a big contributor to our tournaments and your organizational skills when it comes to brackets and making sure matches run without a hitch are unmatched.
Thanks to Shane for his ongoing effort to make us all work harder at our game. Congrats on First Place and thanks again for your continued generosity to our scene with your equipment like that super cool HDMI splitter. Also, keep up the amazing work with giving us online exposure with your YouTube videos.
I wish I could have played Graeme this weekend but I guess he was just too busy making others look utterly free. Thanks for chipping in with finding a prize for fourth place, and thanks for making sure Jericho got Fourth Prize. Good work getting second and remaining one of our most consistent players.
Bmike, don’t be discouraged with Super. Sometimes SSF4 can be a very unfair game. You are one of our absolute best players and a big inspiration to a lot of us here – not to mention a great teacher. Keep putting work in with Cammy and don’t stress about what’s in store for her in AE. These things are never as bad as you think they’re going to be. I know you’ve got warrior spirit and I know you’re going to do great at BaseLAN.
James H is another player who looks like he’s had enough of SSF4. Despite what you think, you’re a strong competitor and fun to play with. I know how it feels to never do well in tournaments but you also have to keep in mind that it takes a lot of work to get where our top players are. I have yet to beat your Adon with my Gouken and I’m sure that with a few changes to your play you can really start tearing things up with him. He’s a strong character and you’ve got some sneaky tricks.
Even though I hate to admit, Dave put me exactly where I belonged in the tournament this weekend. His focused and adaptive play style showed me that I need to make that same effort with my own game. I will still say that I’m definitely salty about my loss and I’m going to have to make sure to run it back at our next tournament.
Congrats to Jericho for fourth place (sexy place). Thanks for the great games on Sunday and showing me what that nasty Gen is all about. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to take you on when we meet in a tournament for this first time but I’m going to make sure to at least steal one game from you.
Thanks to Ian for coming out, taking pictures and playing some games. Your Sakura’s getting better and you’ve got to keep it up. Make sure to let us know where you’re putting those photos so we can post them on our site too.
Thanks again to everyone who showed up for making Section G at C4 a success. Both the audience and competitors were the loudest, hypest and most excited people at the Con. We love the enthusiasm you all showed this weekend. Regardless of your skills, knowledge or confidence, we need each and every one of you to make sure you come out to every event we have. The players and the people who watch them are what give us our inspiration to keep holding our events and tournaments. We’ve grown a lot in the past five years and we still have a lot of growing to do. We need you to be here and take part so we can make Chipdamage and the Winnipeg Scene a major contender in competitive fighting games.
If you’ve got something to say about C4 2010, or if you found us at C4 or if you want to give some shout-outs of your own, please visit our forums.